The Financial Aid Application doesn’t always tell the whole story, and for that reason, Congress has granted Financial Aid Administrators the authority to evaluate special circumstances on a case-by-case basis. Students must provide adequate documentation to show why their circumstances warrant special treatment. To that end, our office has developed several appeal forms to provide a common means for students to report their circumstances. 

While Congress has given Financial Aid Administrators a large amount of freedom in making professional judgment decisions, there are firm limits to this power. We are permitted to make changes to data elements submitted on the Financial Aid Application (i.e. Adjusted Gross Income, Dependency Status, etc.), but we are not allowed to alter the EFC (expected family contribution) formula that the application uses. This distinction rules out certain types of adjustments that are frequently sought by students and families including: Cost of Living Adjustments, Bankruptcy, and Consumer Debt. These situations may have a real impact on a families’ ability to pay for college, but as they do not pertain to data collected on the application, Financial Aid Administrators are unable to consider them.

The descriptions below outline the appeal processes used by our office. If you are unable to discern which appeal you should file, or if you have a situation you wish to be considered that appears to fall outside of these appeals, we encourage you to contact our office and speak to a Financial Aid Administrator to decide on the best course of action. Visit us or contact us.

  • Professional Judgement Expected Family Contribution Appeal

    Professional Judgement Expected Family Contribution Appeals are located here:

    Sometimes, the information and data provided on the FAFSA does not accurately reflect a family's current circumstances. Situations that impact a student or family's ability to contribute to the cost of education may be reevaluated.

    Reviewable circumstances typically include:

    • Loss of employment
    • Loss or reduction in income
    • Exclusions of one-time sources of income received
    • Final divorce or legal separation
    • Death of a parent or a spouse
    • Medical expenses paid

  • On-time Status Appeal

    The On-time Status Appeal form is located here:

    Students who file a FAFSA or DREAM Act application after the March 2nd Priority Filing Deadline and/or submit requested information after deadlines specified by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships may have limited eligibility for some financial aid programs including UCSB grants, Cal grants, and Work-Study. Students with extenuating circumstances that prevented them from meeting financial aid deadlines may file an On-time Status Appeal. All appeals are subject to the availability of funding and may only be considered the first time an applicant fails to meet a deadline. Please note that the following are generally not considered extenuating circumstances or situations beyond a student’s control that would warrant an appeal for on-time status:

    • Lack of knowledge of published financial aid deadlines and application procedures
    • Limited means of communication and/or access to computers, email, or the internet
    • Events that occurred after or not communicated to our office prior to deadlines
    • Failure to complete the FAFSA or CA Dream Application based on tax filing status if estimated information is available
    • Choosing to delay tax filing (tax extensions) and therefore being unable to meet financial aid deadlines
    • A parent’s refusal to provide information on the FAFSA or CA Dream Application or to our office
    • Insufficient financial aid as a result of missing priority deadlines